Thursday, 28 June 2012

Community

One of the things that I cherish most with my yoga is the COMMUNITY. In the beginning, going to a group class was kind of intimidating, as I stressed about the unknown and worried about my capabilities within each pose.

Then I started talking to the students that where in class, and things started to change. I saw that everyone had similar fears & insecurities.

The people on my yoga mat came from all different backgrounds, with different reasons for trying yoga, however we had one thing in common. We all loved yoga!

Some I met in regular classes, later on I met through workshops and trainings. We would email to see who's going to class, and meet after for tea. We would car pool together. We even had a few weekend trips where we shared accommodations, which of course involved personal stories, cooking in the kitchen together and a helping hand getting into handstand. Some people I talk to now & then, some are my closest friends that I see every week.

It's this community that still encourages me when I'm struggling. Inspires me to try something new, or look at something old from a different point of view. It's this community that celebrates with me when I achieve a goal. It's this community that reminds me why I LOVE YOGA so much.

As we move into this patriotic weekend (July 1st is Canada Day for us), I'm reminded of community and how important it is to acknowledge the incredible people that encourage us, help us and inspire us.

May you be generous with your energy, whether it be a simple smile at someone as you cross paths, or a helping hand to family or friends. May you introduce yourself to someone new next time your at yoga or the gym.

May you get to know your community!



"We all have known loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and love comes with Community" Dorothy Day


Thank you to my Yoga community, you mean the world to me!!!

Love & Light,
Lauren

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Michelle Warrior Goddess

When Lauren and I decided to do this blog our main goal was to motivate and inspire people by sharing what motivates and inspires us.

There is nothing more inspiring to me at this moment than my friend and cousin in law, Michelle. Michelle was diagnosed a year ago with stage four breast cancer. She went from enjoying life with her husband and three beautiful children all under the age of five to a year full of doctor appointments, scans, spinal taps, hospital visits and the terrible side effects of Chemo. Her seemingly healthy body was poisoned to fight these tumors and she got sick. I often wonder how I would behave in this situation and am blown away with the grace that Michelle has taken this on. She researched foods and changed her diet, she did what she could to get the rest she needed, she read books, watched movies and learned as much as she could to fight this disease with knowledge and power. She did this while also taking care of her children and doing everything she could to be the one to pick her oldest son up from school even when she had trouble walking. I have told her I thought she should start dressing like the ladies from GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.) She is a true warrior goddess.

The thing that truly inspires me to the core is her positive attitude. When her hair started falling out she played jokes with her daughter and took it as it is, just hair. She is now in the hospital and going through more tests daily and in the middle of all of this she laughed with me about how we need to call Dr. House.

Life is wonderful but it is also unpredictable. It is full of sunshine and laughter and moments of pure bliss but it also has storms. Sometimes big storms. The challenge is being in the storm and still seeing the light, seeing the sunshine through the dark clouds and living each moment to the fullest. I don’t know how to do this sometimes but what I know is that Michelle is inspiring me to let go of the little things that used to upset me and focus on the things that bring me joy. My kids laughing, my husband's smile, time with my friends and family and the fact that I am able to get on my mat and move my body with ease. She is teaching me to say yes more often and to be grateful for each moment. To forgive quickly. To love fully. To show love often and to give it away freely. To smile bigger and laugh harder. She is more than I can put into words. Thank you Michelle for your daily inspiration. You are strength, you are courage and you are grace.

This is Michelle and I pregnant with our first borns, we had the same due date!!! In the words of our husbands' Omi, "it must have been quite a party."

OM,
CJ


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Try YOGA at HOME

When I started practising yoga, back in 2002, I could only afford to do 1 - 2 yoga classes a week. I was  just out of college and had a limited budget. My mom even helped pay for some of my yoga classes because she saw how much it helped me.

After a few months I saw & felt the changes in my body, mind and heart. I wanted to do more! I started asking my teacher (Dan Clement of http://www.indigoyoga.ca) what kind of yoga books he would recommend and what type of poses I should do at home. At that time he was exploring Ashtanga yoga, so he suggested David Swenson's "Ashtanga Yoga, the Practise manual" as it broke down the Primary Series, which was what we had been practising. So I went online and bought it.

After weeks of anticipation, the book arrived. I remember vividly unwrapping the packaging, rolling out my yoga mat and opening the pages of the book. Thank you David Swenson for keeping it simple and clear, as this is what I needed.

I was still a new practitioner, so I found myself going slow, looking up at the book probably way too much and struggling a lot with what I thought I "should" look like or be feeling or doing. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but in hindsight it was my expectations that let me down.  I continued doing this, not always finishing the series, however I set the intention to be consistent and get to my yoga mat regularly.


This is the moment when my practise changed. When my practise imprinted in my life. I committed to Time with myself! I've never been the same since.

It's not easy practising at home on your own. Even now as a yoga teacher, an entrepreneur and a busy mom. I have way too many excused not to get to my mat. Then I remember why I practise, and how I feel when I do. I'm a better mom, a calmer wife, a skillful yogi and a compassionate teacher.

I MUST practise.

Most people assume, that to do yoga at home you have to have an advance understanding of yoga and the postures. Or that you have to practise for a certain amount of time for it to count. Or that you have to be flexible or knowledgeable with the history & philosophy. Some people even think you need a specific fitness space or designated yoga room to practise at home.

THIS IS ALL FALSE!

I practise yoga in my living room. Surrounded by toddler toys, with my cat purring all around me. Sometimes I put music on and groove, sometimes I log in and do a class online (YOGO.tv of course). Sometimes I practise for an hour and other times I just have 20 - 30 minutes. There are NO rules to YOUR practise. Just get to your mat, move, breath, be conscious of your actions and thoughts. Take time for yourself.

I feel blessed that I've been surrounded by amazing yoga teachers and people who have supported me in this exploration and encouraged me to DO MY YOGA.

So here's my challenge to you.........TRY YOGA AT HOME!

If you need inspiration, try this class from YOGO.tv

(It's free & it's with ME) Hatha Yoga class - Your practice as a refection of life

With you on this path,
Lauren

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Neighbors

I love that I know my neighbors, that my kids yell over the fence to say hello and show them their books or artwork. I want my kids to feel that they have people and that they are never alone. When I was little we played in our front yards, we didn’t call our friends or text our friends; we walked right through their back door and straight into their kitchen to say hi. It is empowering and in my opinion necessary to feel a part of something bigger, to feel connected. Life is exciting and it is challenging and sometimes it is really scary. But if we breath deep and look around we will see that we are all here for the same thing so let’s stand up for one another, reach out to new people, laugh together, cry together and support each other. Let's walk into the kitchen of an old or new friend and say hi and get to know our neighbors.

Namaste,
CJ

This is my most favorite quote of all time. I hope you enjoy it.

"This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast.  It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.  They will try to hold on to the shore.   They will feel they are torn apart and will suffer greatly. 
"Know the river has its destination.  The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.  At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, Least of all ourselves.  For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. 
    "The time for the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. 
    "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
-- attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder
Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona